Wellbeing Design Diary: Sound

Wellbeing Design Diary: Sound

Design Diary
What's one sound that doesn't persuade you to look up from a task? Wellbeing design addresses sounds that distract and motivate. After all, our sensations are a necessary support. Creative wellbeing aligns sensory desires with goal achievements. One distractive sound addressed in recent years is smartphone notifications. How do you react when your favorite song is played? Or when a person is shouting from anger? Wellbeing improves through sound factors. Julian Treasure identifies how sound effects our physiological, psychological, cognitive, and behavior responses in his brief TED talk The 4 ways sound affects us. Additional  supportive research identifies changing, modifying, and masking sound agents will improve productivity, health, and wellbeing. Sound is found to effect all human achievements because or body responds to it in negative or positive ways. Diary Laughter…
Read More
How to Energize Body and Mind with Spirituality

How to Energize Body and Mind with Spirituality

Spiritual
The stigma behind spirituality is a alive and strong. People suggest avoiding conversations on religion but spirituality is a health resource. More medical professionals are discussing spirituality with their patients to energize body and mind needs. Pain, stress, and trauma effects mind, body, and soul. Wellbeing is an active process to increase awareness and make choices toward a successful existence. This process includes: eating, movement, satisfaction, enrichment, creativity, motivation, purposefulness, community, awareness, and acceptance. Unlocking the essence of each life experience rewards wellbeing improvements. "The experience of 'madness' can include a profound experience of connection and spirituality; oneness with nature; and the meaning and purpose of life," says founder of The California Mental Health and Spirituality Initiative, Jay Mahler.  Reverend Laura Manusco sighted the most common questions she hears: "Why me?"…
Read More
15 Insights on How To Train Your Brain

15 Insights on How To Train Your Brain

Intellectual
Do you adhere daily to the fact that all you surround yourself with PLUS what you ingest trains or alters your brain? The optimistic person we share a space with, the composition of brass instruments in music, or salad verses fries can make all the difference. Cognitive science is linking biology with cultural experiences. Science is teaching us how to train our brain, so we are exploring the research. Below are questions, links, and action steps equaling 15 insights on how to train your brain to live healthy. Here Is What You Hear April science news shared a new part of the brain was revealed through auditory testing. Scientists say our brain has neuroplasticity. This leaves us with new evidence supporting the ability to change the way we think, feel,…
Read More
How Stress Spreads and Proven Methods to Stop It

How Stress Spreads and Proven Methods to Stop It

Social
Two employees walk into the office one regularly-scheduled work day morning. They respectfully go their separate desks, set down their belongings but cling to the  unnerving chaos experienced moments before work. Here are two cases of three people revealing how stress may spread along with methods to stop it. What are employees to do with those intangible belongings stuck to their brains and bones? I'm guessing most of you are thinking "they need to get over it." Fact is mental disorders are climbing far above heart conditions, cancer, and diabetes. Stress is reality. From the moment we came out of our mother's wombs we experienced stress from newness: bright lights, louder sounds and alarming sights...eeeks! Then the touch of a stranger? "Poor baby," isn't a helpful approach. Current points of…
Read More
How to Stop The Floundering Or Agonizing Meetings

How to Stop The Floundering Or Agonizing Meetings

Workplace
Finished projects bring moments of exhilaration for all involved. True joy arrives with quality outcomes. Do these feelings occur after collaborative meetings? Engaged individuals actively listening and vulnerably sharing empowers productive, creative progress. Collaborative engagement with everyone at the table produces quality end goals: powerful strategies, innovative products, increased revenue. A recent report shared Steelcase coined the phenomenon ‘Presence Disparity’. It was pointed out this compromises innovative workflow and timely productivity. Presence Disparity is when telecommuters physically experience a compromising difference when virtually collaborating. Examples included missing verbal and visual content due to background noises or poor quality live stream video. Mentally, physically, and emotionally taxed individuals lose productive opportunities for empowered creativity and revenue-building strategies. People fully engage when body senses are prepared to mentally interpret content. Presence Disparity is a macro-sensory productivity…
Read More
A Seamstress Exhibiting Stress In The Workplace

A Seamstress Exhibiting Stress In The Workplace

Workplace
GIG Design's team discussed observations of a seamstress exhibiting stress in the workplace. Observations of the work environment included details of the lighting, noise, temperature, and peer engagement. The work space is an open area of approximately thirty seamstresses, all sitting at a sewing station actively engaging in production of a product. Observations of the seamstress were noted to be signs of distress as exhibited by facial expressions, frequent posturing with head tilted into hand through elbow support, uncharacteristic pauses of production. Following a lifestyle profile and sensory assessment she identified as under-responsive to sensations. Under-responsiveness This form of regulating the nervous system is categorized by muted, delayed responses, and low sensory registration. This individual passively regulates their nervous system, has a high threshold to sensory stimuli, and passively reacts to sensations.…
Read More
Five Steps To Engage In A Healthy Lifestyle

Five Steps To Engage In A Healthy Lifestyle

Emotional
How do your thoughts articulate each moment you experience? “I'm confidently griping the handle of this heavy meeting-room door, stepping into this meeting that will shape and sharpen feelings of fulfillment in my life.” Thoughts vividly characterize the body's experience. Our body senses every tiny thing before describing it with words. This phenomenon directs behaviors. The brain encodes then decodes sensory stimuli then informs the nervous system how to respond. It then links to our subjective frame of mind. Since we're creatures of habit everything we currently avoid was first formulated through an unpleasant past experience. Behaviors demonstrate how the body stores then processes sensations into action. Awareness of your unique sensory response, understanding metaphors, your internal dialogue, and an abstract representation of your self mediates behavior response. How do you discover your…
Read More
Let It Be Meaningful To You

Let It Be Meaningful To You

Design Diary
There's a choice to pick activities that are meaningful to you. Occupational Therapists often create goals for work life balance. Choose leisure activities that are meaningful. Whether your leisure activity be cooking, painting, dancing or photography, let it be meaningful to you. Here's an example of some photos that I had taken recently. I took photos that are meaningful to me and find it very therapeutic. Life starts somewhere. [caption id="attachment_5237" align="aligncenter" width="287"] This photo was taken at a local Seattle farmer’s market (Fremont) where artisans created these beautiful pentagon potteries to hold the plants.[/caption] In the Chinese and Japanese Culture pentagons are symbolic for the 5 elements of life:metal, wood, water, fire and earth. I chose succulents and air plants as my subject because these plants are very resilient…
Read More
Tea: An Inexpensive, Medicative Commodity

Tea: An Inexpensive, Medicative Commodity

Design Diary
There’s just something so nice about a hot cup of tea in your hand.  That cozy feeling with beautifully aroma of herbs, spices or clean green tea. At work there’s something that the chaplains provide called “Tea for the Soul”.  At first I thought it was just fun with a great supportive social aspect giving us a chance to sit, take a break, drink some tea and talk.  However, it had become my coping mechanism.  Just the other day, I was grieving about some losses and I couldn’t believe how comforting it was to have someone offer me tea.  It felt just as good as a long cry after a sappy movie or a breath of fresh air after being stuck in a room. It was definitely the next best thing. Allowing my senses to…
Read More
Job Stress

Job Stress

Occupational
One-fourth of all employees view their job as the number one stress in their lives. ¹  Yale University found that twenty-six percent workers report they are "often or very often burned out or stressed by their work. ² Health care expenditures are nearly fifty percent greater for workers who report high levels of stress. ³ The National Institute of Occupational Science and Health state that job stress is: the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources or needs of the worker. Identifying the varied signs of job stress are what occupational therapy practitioners are skilled at. Stress is rarely seen as serious by both employees and employers. It's become a societal norm that people simply refer to their day as 'so busy'.…
Read More
Interior Design for Positive Aspects

Interior Design for Positive Aspects

Spiritual
The first reflection of a person is said to be witnessed in a still, calm body of water. Following, craftsmen caught onto the fact that a polished stone, like copper and bronze, provided much sought after mirrors for grooming. Today the task of mirrors reaches beyond your reflection to reflect your best self in metaphor or form. Reflection also takes shape as a thought, value or goal. When your arrow aims at healthy roles, habits and performance, then design your environment to support following through at your very best.  Steelcase recently blogged on their 360 Research page that wellbeing is systematic and holistic. "The team went on to conclude that the places where people come together to work can be designed to have a positive impact on a variety of dimensions of worker…
Read More
Wake Up in the Morning

Wake Up in the Morning

Physical
Estimating time is a skill that improves as we age. Neuroscientists support through research that our brain triggers this skill while we sleep (Aritake and  Higuchi 2012). It helps us wake up on time. We are capable of ending sleep accurately, up to ten minutes from the desired wake up time without an alarm clock. Non-REM sleep is a slow-wave type of sleep necessary for normal physical and intellectual performance and behaviors. Sleep deprivation causes the brain to activate sleep rebound or pressure responses. Reduced daytime activity and sleep disruption will respond with poor daytime performance (Trinidad and Miguel 2011). REM sleep supports your mood and memory. This sleep stage occurs repeatedly. Sufficient REM can nix the need for your alarm clock. Wake up in the morning!  Do you want to make it easier? Pay attention to daytime activity…
Read More
Cultural Context

Cultural Context

Spiritual
Is it difficult for you to perform at your best while working at the office? This was my experience at an internship. It was customary for employees to work by shift and to keep the environment conservative. The standards in the culture was a quiet work space. However, I thrived around moving bodies and sounds of life. Customs, beliefs and behavior standards are just a few cultural contexts. Activity patterns, expectations, ethnicity, values, political aspects are also included.  The premise of cultural context includes opportunities for education, employment and economic support that are accepted by the society in which one is a member. Work as an occupational therapy practitioner has guided me to understand my sensory self - or how my sensations respond to stress. I'm aware that I have low arousal.…
Read More
Increase Your Creativity

Increase Your Creativity

Physical
Do you believe it's possible to reduce or increase your creativity? Recently a friend challenged me to try the following formula: 30+ minutes of movement + outdoors + listening solely to the sounds of the natural surroundings = a boost of creativity by 90%! Initially, this came as no surprise. Does it to you? Research continues to prove that we can enhance our natural creativity. In addition to regulating sleep, body temperature and libido, Serotonin is also proven to increase creativity.*  Serotonin levels increase with exposure to bright light, exercise, diet (chickpeas and wild seeds vs meat proteins), and self-induced changes in mood.** My friend's formula falls right in line with these four natural ways to get a creative boost. So, why is it important to increase your creativity? Harvard Business Review…
Read More
Sensibility

Sensibility

Spiritual
Have you danced without music? Recently, in the midst of what I hoped to be a long pause with online radio, I continued to dance without music. My hope was 'my sensibility will improve'. Just what is sensibility? It's the ability to appreciate and respond to complex emotional or aesthetic influences. A lack of sensibility may impede performance with misguided responses, lack of attention, or situational discernment. So how does one strengthen sensibility? When athletes strengthen skill they first recognize their weakness. Scientists have proven that when a performer focuses attention externally rather than internally then performance is enhanced. If it's a sprinter with a speed weakness then their mindset is 'imagining the ground as a hotplate' not 'striking with your forefoot'. In parallel, an example to strengthen a work…
Read More
Communicate Face to Face

Communicate Face to Face

Social
A psychologist wrote about the healthy aspect of a parent not listening to every kiddo's imaginative story-telling moments. He said the brain functions best when it isn't multi-tasking. Children have a lot of stories that take time away from the to-do list. Kids and parents often have the same voice inclinations, too. Mistaking siblings voices may occur when in a different room or by phone. In communication, do you easily recognize people's voices? Our ear's physiology is fascinating. It holds the smallest bone in the body. Sound separates into vibrations by hair fiber movement. Each ear has a relay station that splits into two pathway's to filter sounds. The paths cross hemispheres to recognize, distinguish, and filter auditory information. Sound localization, pattern recognition, timing, and balance are main processes of the ear.…
Read More
What does rhythmic pattern mean?

What does rhythmic pattern mean?

Intellectual
Recently a client passionately shared the fact that everything has and needs rhythm. He had many illustrations to support his thought-provoking and scientifically proven theory. However, his suggestion that I was a product of rhythm, the movement of my parents having sex, struck me. I reflected on the melodic and beautifully comforting concept of the moment of conception. If I had seen that point of view earlier, I would have been more merciful toward my dad and mom.  I do my best to consider their sacrifices through my childhood but sometimes I'll remind myself of my girlish, manipulative behaviors to refresh my deep gratitude.  I matured and love my parents for who they are. Within that truth, I'm nourished and able to love myself plus others. Just days after my…
Read More
Growing Through Boredom

Growing Through Boredom

Intellectual
Boredom is something not everyone experiences. When you do, are you able to create your own activity? An occupational therapist researched "doing, being and boredom" in 1,500 young subjects. His summary: they were bored 42% of the time with only 10% of their time being spent doing 'productive' work. The difference appears to be how the recipients used their time: passive leisure self-care education, and labor force. Do either of these sound like how you use your time? Lack of challenge is the underlining issue. The Lego Movie is a good example of creating an activity, plus a relational challenge. Dad is angered by his son's choice of an activity he created. It is at the expense of the Dad's play activity. We learn Dad created this activity for being perfect. Son created this…
Read More
Forming Mental Images

Forming Mental Images

Intellectual
Sometimes I find it strange when I'm surrounded by quiet people.  It seems that I am surrounded by "noisy brains". Of course, I need to quiet my head-talk to get to that thought. One comforting idea is, what if everyone replaced listening to their head-talk by watching a picture-reel. Imagine their words becoming images. Are you able to form mental pictures? We often mistake 'play' as a child's act.  However, adults play too. The pattern of play begins with imagination. It follows a life cycle from that conceptive mental moment on to nourishing spiritual, creative, and relational habits. In fact, shame is linked to experiences of creative failure. Adults that deny shame have banked on the pattern of play. To us, play is coined as abductive reasoning. The way our bodies are wired includes the ability to change. Consider…
Read More
Tolerate Silence

Tolerate Silence

Spiritual
Dr. Steven Aung and Dr. Badri Rickhi are health care professionals positioning mental and spiritual wellness as a mind/body necessity. Stress reduction programs, adapting the body to nature, and being aware of the senses are three things they believe help achieve spiritual and mental health. Are you able to tolerate silence or very low music sounds? Our rational and emotional brains steer our reactions. We have a "window of tolerance", as Dr. Bessel van der Kolk call it. If we are hyper-aroused or shut down, then we disengage from that moment of time. Neuroscience research repeatedly points to self-awareness as the most effective way to change emotional IQ. Silence and music are no strangers to self-awareness. Our soul directly links to our mind. It changes the harmony inside our self. Van der…
Read More
Morning Crazies

Morning Crazies

Design Diary
Planning what I wear to work has been harder over the past year. With shared spaces, what should easily be a 15 minute or less routine, often becomes a hunt.  Where did my favorite top go? Running between laundry baskets or digging into drawers is not uncommon.  I know my role with morning crazies requires a change in multiple areas: environment, obtaining specific items, senses, attitude. Consider reorganizing closet space The closet situation is not working out.  Hangers are a desired item in this bedroom.  I thought back on a time when this was not an issue. Picture a large closet with a glowing light filling it.  That closet brought about borderline morning miracles on a daily basis. Clothing Simplicity The next area to tackle was my mind.  Was my desire to switch…
Read More
Beauty in Life

Beauty in Life

WholeBe Toolkit
The idea of beauty is subjective.  WholeBeSM teaches the idea of beauty as a trigger to design sensibility. The universal root + definition of Beauty LATIN | bellus {beautiful, fine} an aesthetic allure in the harmony of color, form, shape a particular pleasurable advantage or item Helen Keller said, "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt with the heart." What you perceive as beauty is a direct result of your senses. They peak a dialogue between sights, smells, and sounds. It is arousal following a  harmony within.  It's achievement of gratification by the senses. Beauty in life is unique and individualized.  It is most often interpreted visually.
Read More
Alone Time is Healthy

Alone Time is Healthy

Spiritual
The word "alone" can mean different things. For instance, the self-employed person uses "alone time". Going through your morning routine, doing a crossword puzzle, or cleaning the house are all activities done during "alone time". Most parents would be ecstatic to have an hour of alone time. However, there are other times that being alone can be uncomfortable or down right scary. Being alone can resonate with our spiritual core. We believe our health depends on spirituality. It helps us establish values, adhere to our beliefs, and discover ways to thrive. Spirituality empowers us as we find our purpose. Alone time is healthy. We all experience it. It is what we do with it that can help us grow and succeed. So, if you're not utilizing your "alone time" to…
Read More
Dialogue in Life

Dialogue in Life

WholeBe Toolkit
When we think of dialogue we think of conversation.  However there is another way to use this word? WholeBeSM Performance uses dialogue to trigger design sensibility. The universal root + definition of Dialogue GREEK | dia {through} legein {speak} a discussion between two or more people an exchange of views - opinions or ideas Louis Kahn said, "You say to a brick, 'What do you want, brick?' And brick says to you, 'I like an arch.' And you say to brick, 'Look, I want one, too, but arches are expensive and I can use a concrete lintel.' And then you say: 'What do you think of that, brick?' Brick says: 'I like an arch.'" Dialogue in life is listening and sharing.  It is receiving, considering, and reacting to information. When relationships fray, tension occurs. In these moments dialogue empowers…
Read More
Alone Time

Alone Time

Design Diary
While driving down I-90 with the music low, I took in everything new. Then I watched the yellow line patterns and the steady row of trucks chugging along.  It went from feeling fresh to quickly becoming monotonous. I grew eager to just be home. In that moment, I felt for those traveling as part of daily life - whether long trips on the road, maybe flying or just a timely commute. Over the past two years this has been the norm for my fiancé.  Fortunately, he handles this well because he connects quickly with new people and takes time to explore new places. Upon returning home, people often ask about stories from his travels and new experiences. More often than not in relationships in which one travels, other people tend to overlook…
Read More
Peers In the Workplace That Are Recovering From Trauma

Peers In the Workplace That Are Recovering From Trauma

Occupational
Peers in the workplace that are recovering from trauma will have difficulty verbalizing their emotions or even a simple thought (VanderKolk, 2014).  There is an uncertainty about life that confuses as they sort through their trauma.  With time and repetition, their communication patterns will slowly form into crisp, clear, confidant responses. Confidence often comes after strategy. Chess is a great example of strategy. Wikipedia enlightens on the historical game of chess, once called curling: a great deal of strategy and teamwork goes into choosing the ideal path and placement of a stone for each situation, and the skills of the curlers determine how close to the desired result the stone will achieve. Workplace culture words optimize strategies. Teamwork helps but listening and comprehension is key.  A safe environment and it's objects enable trust.…
Read More
Earth Sets A Standard To Our Indoor Experiences

Earth Sets A Standard To Our Indoor Experiences

Design Diary
According to Merriam Webster, the definition of earth tones is: any of various rich colors containing some brown. This past week I drove across the country from Lake Havasu City, AZ back to upstate NY.  Despite the overflow of boxes, a hermit crab cage and toiletries from the backseat, we had an amazing trip.  The outside scenery flew by and changed frequently from day to day; everything from the desert to a slow and steady rain cloud that followed us.  We finally drove into New York in the middle of the night with nothing but black surrounding us with a soft hue of the moon covered by clouds. On The Drive, I realized how visually influenced I am.  It sets the tone for everything to follow.  The sight and sound…
Read More
How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

Physical
Hot coffee is one of my favorite ways to start the day.  I love the routine of it, the smells that fill the kitchen and the way milk twirls, turns about until mixed. But the longer lasting reaction is a little more complicated.  I have begun to notice that the effects of coffee, i.e. flying through the fastest workday feeling, also comes with some side effects.  After a few sips, I begin to lose touch with my body and ultimately with where my personal sensory needs are at. Benefits of Self-Regulating: Increasing your focus to what requires your attention To further take care of yourself and your present needs To be able to engage in meaningful life activities Ability to deal with difficult situations that arise Know yourself better. Prevent.…
Read More
Work May Trigger Repetitive Conflicts

Work May Trigger Repetitive Conflicts

Workplace
Work behaviors are a distinct part of you. We may have control over our home environments but our work environments are a collaboration of peers. The workplace has a culture of unwritten values creating its community. Regardless of who or what sets the cultural tone, there will be things that trigger you out of your control into an unhealthy zone  (CompPsych 2013). There are strategies to prepare for this. Its those other ways you occupy your time that directly effect your behaviors. Sleep is one statistically proven strategy (Foster 2013). What other ways do you occupy your time? Play, the commute to work, or self-care routines are some.  When we walk over the threshold into the workplace we bring all of life's current events with us. This is natural with…
Read More
Respond to Anger with Kindness

Respond to Anger with Kindness

Occupational
We are unique! Our behaviors respond in different ways. At work leaders may tell you to respond to anger with kindness.  Effective communication is often interpreted as kindness. Put down the mental shot gun of using feelings about the subject, current mood, and impressions to achieve this (Kahneman 2011). Begin with understanding one's true nature. We respond with harmony or discord. Understanding one's personality and temperament helps develop healthy relationships. It enhances goal achievement. It enables you to respond to anger with kindness! If knowing one's true nature sounds like a winning solution to you, below is personality and temperament descriptives. Personality A collective of an individual's attitudes, behavioral patterns, emotional responses, social roles and other individual traits that are innate, predisposed and endure over a long period of time. We recharge one…
Read More
Six Creative Ways To Invest In a Joyful Day With A Dreaded Commute On The Horizon

Six Creative Ways To Invest In a Joyful Day With A Dreaded Commute On The Horizon

Design Diary
Once I striped away the spite from a new, yet tedious commute to my weekday routine the challenge was to plan carefully - given traffic, traffic cones and added coffee stops along my route. Yes, some days it is plural. Temporary living conditions includes a culture where long commutes are the norm rather than the exception. I find this unfortunate. Getting my brain relaxed about the commute each day helps sustain energy.  With every sunrise I start anew and there is no cookie cutter answer. Although there are creative ways to invest in a joyful day with a dreaded commute on the horizon. Here are six: NPRs Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me! quizzes contestants on weekly news. Hilarious! Ask Me Another shares Puzzles & word games, including limericks. I heart NPR. Listen…
Read More
The Sit or Stand Ordeal Is Suspicious to Research Bias

The Sit or Stand Ordeal Is Suspicious to Research Bias

Occupational
Lately the question to stand or sit at a desk has been a hot topic in research. Conclusively, consumers hear it's better to stand than to sit or that sitting is bad for you. Before identifying whether its good for you to sit or stand lets first unravel research bias. In the Brain Science Podcast 97 on Nueroanthropology, Dr. Downey (neuroscience) and Dr. Lende (anthropology) explained that they met while debating points over their cubicle. Ten years later and over hundreds of miles between one another they instinctively began to contact one another. The gesture was to compare points in order to glean off from one another's expertise. Research may be where it becomes skewed says Dr. Downey: There's a whole emergence, for example, of cultural neuroscience; of research teams, that often times…
Read More
These Easy Breathing Patterns May Instantly Reward Aging

These Easy Breathing Patterns May Instantly Reward Aging

Emotional
Right now the rose garden bares full, velvet red roses. They're irresistible to pass by without stepping off the path for my nose to gracefully greet them. Overtly fragrant. This was the one time today I noticed myself taking a deep breath, otherwise my deep belly sigh is a witness to fatigue or that feeling of being overwhelmed. Attention to breathing in moments to sigh or smell refreshes focus to body stress. Breathing is recognized in naturopathic remedies, yoga, and meditation. Medical practitioners frequently encourage their patients to breath deep in order to reduce or eliminate pain. Notice one practice is for skill and the other is prevention. Occupational therapy practitioners are enthusiasts of energy conversation techniques or ECTs. One ECT is breathing. Approximately 9 of 10 people I work with daily reduce…
Read More
8 Easy Freebies For Guaranteed Body Support At Work or For Travel

8 Easy Freebies For Guaranteed Body Support At Work or For Travel

Occupational
Adjusting to work conditions as a telecommuter has its challenges. Good fortune may bring a flat surface wide enough to support a laptop. Typically, its propped across the legs with occasional havoc if they're crossed. The back bumper of a car may become a chair. A work surface may be the cost of a warm beverage. Sometimes the price jacks-up when there's the unfortunate parking ticket. Of course, there is that occasional back corner desk that costs musty smells from trash-worthy office furnishings. A spirited stress-less performance while on the road depends on adaption.  This doesn't mean to desensitize postural or mental supremacy. These costs become epidemic to musculoskeletal disorders to the spine or hips or suppressive anxiety beatings. The occasional is an exception but retirement may span into later years if hospital bills or…
Read More
Our Brain Craves Music

Our Brain Craves Music

Intellectual
Recently a client passionately shared the fact that everything has and needs rhythm. He spoke into many different illustrations to support his thought-provoking theory. It so happens that its scientifically proven, too (Zatoore and Salimpoor 2013). He explained I was made out of rhythm. What?! Yes. The rhythmic movement of my parents having sex. This was a novel thought. I reflected on such a melodic, beautifully comforting perspective of a moment bringing forth life. If I clung to that point-of-view all the time I might be more merciful towards my parents.  Compassion begins with consideration of one's sacrifices. Mental reminders that may refresh a deep gratitude is one way to mature perspective of people's behaviors. Behavior stems from learning why and how to react. The integrity of behaviors may mature…
Read More
How To Quit Smoking

How To Quit Smoking

Design Diary
Smoking isn't healthy but it kept me sane. It was a deadly habit but it helped me thrive professionally, socially and oddly enough, athletically. I loved to smoke and didn't attempt to quit until the day I stopped 'cold turkey'.  The miracle in this was I lost the urge to smoke but I gained a body that was unable to cope with stress. What I did: smoke to cope. Our hormones are what regulates stress. Everyone doesn't have the same hormone secretion so our level of what is stressful can vary. This is significant to how an individual will react within the fight-or-flight response. How to quit smoking is similar to unravelling a ball of yarn from a neatly organized ball. My late teens, twenties then just into my thirties were…
Read More
Creating a Perfect Cup of Coffee

Creating a Perfect Cup of Coffee

Physical
It's the process that creates a perfect cup of coffee...the aroma, color, shape, sounds and the movement and the location of where the coffee beans are stored or the drive to the cafe. It's all sensory data that is registered in your brain. RadioLab airs how the brain interprets this by using the metaphor music.  The entire broadcast is worth the hour listen, but if your short on time skip forty-four minutes into RadioLabs play-by-play of creating a cup of coffee within the sensory interpretation. Coffee-lovers are stimulated when they hear the word coffee.  Nutritionally, its a completely different playing field. My focus here isn't on how coffee nourishes but to begin a conversation about the effect of creating a cup (or four) may be equally gratifying without drinking it.…
Read More
What It Takes To Sleep

What It Takes To Sleep

Physical
Our sleep patterns are effected by stress, our daily activities and prep-for-bed routines. Here's what it takes to sleep by visiting our sleep environments: The National Sleep Foundation Sleep Report Card states that 90% people watch TV before going to bed, 33% are on the computer.  Their Fact Sheet states the bedroom is for two things only: sleep and sex. Their tip: Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet and comfortable. Think window treatment fabric and quality, materials to dampen sound (i.e.: carpet, wall insulation, noise-reduction product). OT Idea: Know sleep and rest are an occupation you're responsible for. Understand your sensory needs then create sleep and rest environments to support an ease into sleep, to maintain sleep without disturbance, to accomplish a full night (7 to 8 hours) of sleep. Examples…
Read More
One of These Three Stress Responses Will Empower You To Boost Performance

One of These Three Stress Responses Will Empower You To Boost Performance

Occupational
While sitting at your desk, working in the kitchen...in every task and environment your senses are bombarded. All information comes to us through sensory input. An average of 2,000 bits of information per second enters our brain (Willis 2009). Although, everyone processes through this information differently. Our senses first sift through all of it before it even reaches our awareness.  Neurologically our body organizes then attempts to adjust its reaction to an impulse. Modulation provides a behavior that safely adapts to the stress of change with less risks on health. Everyone responds to stress differently. Knowing how your senses respond may empower you to boost performance: Some of us are sensory over-responders, in which we react to sensations faster and stronger than those with normal response levels (Reynolds and Jane 2007).  These aren't willful,…
Read More
How Sounds Reclaim Life, Boosts Performance, and Surrenders Agony

How Sounds Reclaim Life, Boosts Performance, and Surrenders Agony

Intellectual
One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.  BOB MARLEY Our inner ear provides us with a lot of information about the world around us. This sound travels through the ear by means of the auditory nerve, then to be processed by our brain. Even if we were blindfolded, we would be able to identify if we were in a large stadium versus a small confined room based on the sounds and how that sound travels through space. Music has the ability to produce an orienting response. Sounds reclaim life, boosts performance, and energizes perception. Picture grandma dropping a pan and automatically everyone in the room turns to see what it is - they orient towards that sound. Although we usually view loud noises as environmental…
Read More
Undo Cruel Food Obsession. Seize Life With These Five Tactics.

Undo Cruel Food Obsession. Seize Life With These Five Tactics.

Physical
The day began with a mess of disorganization. Our team was out of synch and it cost valuable time. Every hour that morning another issue arose. The climax was financial catastrophe! This stress lead the team to emotional behaviors which created a different kind of work. Internal body regulating and mind work. The challenge was to remain calm through it all. Being overwhelmed with stressful feelings causes confusion. Emotions are a vital part of us to sort through problem-solving.  Suffering rears emotions from childhood experiences then initiates personal boundaries - healthy or unhealthy. Our primal instinct is to act for safety in seeking feelings of comfort. Feelings are stimulated by our senses. Our behavior is the reaction. Often people express a reaction by being "full of" an overwhelming feeling. "I'm full of excitement!"…
Read More
Food Can Be A Trigger

Food Can Be A Trigger

Physical
It is that season when there is always something baking in the oven or a tea kettle boiling for tea or cocoa. Family mealtimes are emphasized and social gatherings are regularly scheduled. The work offices are stocked up with cookies or treats in shining, foil wrappers. Holiday treats and celebrations bring a sense of community, nurture our bodies and feed our soul. But what about those who have difficulties or disordered eating habits? The increase in food can be a trigger or stir up anxieties. Recently, I found out a person very close to me was having such difficulties.  She reported always having such emotional pain followed by physical pain of overeating and then ultimately this effected her self-worth.  This was difficult to discuss and shows bravery on her part.…
Read More
Everyday Functioning For Kids and Adults With Sensory Concerns

Everyday Functioning For Kids and Adults With Sensory Concerns

Social
Life is constantly changing around us.  Things like the temperature, lighting, and noises are always being processed.  Although a lot of this happens on an autonomic level, for persons with sensory processing concerns, standing still can be overwhelming and effect everyday function. Occupational therapist Catherine Armani-Munn, MS OTR/L explores the challenges of everyday functioning for kids and adults with sensory concerns. Bethany: What year & where did you graduate? Catherine: I graduated from Keuka College in a 5 yr masters program.  My undergrad was in Occupational Science and in 2010 I graduated with my masters in Occupational Therapy. I also got a minor in ASL (American Sign Language) in college which has helped me a lot in the field, especially working with the autism population. Bethany: What is  your background and…
Read More
When It All Becomes Overwhelming and You Start to Shut Down

When It All Becomes Overwhelming and You Start to Shut Down

Design Diary
Sometimes I'm scared of my body.  I'm not always sure what pains I will wake up to or what thoughts will wander into my head or even what colors will come out of my nose.  This past year, I've become more in tune with this while living in the Mojave desert.  Lake Havasu City is a very different climate compared to back east - coming in at about 10-18% humidity according to my hermit crabs' barometer.  This has left me at times dehydrated, congested, raspy, and/or wiped out.  Nonetheless, it has helped me become very aware of any changes internally and how the environment affects me. This is something I'm glad I'm beginning to realize now.  It's important knowing who you are and how you react under the most trying…
Read More